- 28-year-old pitcher Fausto Carmona is neither 28 nor Fausto Carmona. He is 31-year-old Roberto Hernandez Heredia, and he has been arrested in the Dominican Republic after trying to renew his visa. It’s unclear whether Heredia will be able to pitch in the big leagues next year (the most recent case like this, Marlins’ reliever Leo-Nunez-cum-Juan-Oviedo, appears to have worked out well enough, as Oviedo was tendered a contract by the Marlins after the identity issue was revealed), and I feel bad for the Indians. This kind of problem could crop up on just about any team. Indeed, it could have cropped up on the Cubs: last year, before acquiring Matt Garza, the Cubs were heavily linked in rumors to the former Mr. Carmona. Whew.
- Phil Rogers says the Cubs, as currently constructed, are the 5th worst team in baseball. As hopeful as we all like to fancy ourselves, I really can’t argue with too much of what Rogers says. A particularly ugly factoid: “Epstein and Chairman Tom Ricketts are big believers in the value of a deep at-bat, of hitters who can lay off borderline pitches and get a bat on wicked ones, prolonging an at-bat with multiple foul balls. The only two primary Cubs last season skilled at producing those at-bats were Kosuke Fukudome (4.29 pitches per plate appearance) and Carlos Pena (4.13), and they’re not around anymore. Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro, who figure to have the most shelf life of the returning players, were at 3.82 and 3.67, respectively. Among major leaguers with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, Castro ranked 111th of 120. Alfonso Soriano was 114th at 3.65.”
- Fergie Jenkins was asked yesterday about new Cubs President Theo Epstein, and I can’t decide if Fergie was defending Epstein, or kind of criticizing him: “I really don’t know what to take of him yet. I tried to get a meeting with him and he was really busy …. He’s young. He’s never put a jockstrap on though. See that’s the thing. I tell people all the time ‘this guy reads about the game and has seen it on TV or in stadiums,’ but he’s a pretty smart individual. He knows talent and that’s what it’s all about. People sit back and say ‘you know he never played’ but he watches and recognizes what individuals can do what and where they can play.” Likes Epstein? Doesn’t like him? I really can’t quite tell.
- Steve Rosenbloom drools out another barely-legible column, telling Theo Epstein that he should try to trade Alfonso Soriano to Detroit in a package with Matt Garza (brand. new. idea.). In doing so, he drops this: “F’rinstance, paying some sucker to take Carlos Zambrano and getting a broken left-hander in exchange is value.” Protip, Steve: get an editor who knows something about baseball. Zambrano was traded to the Marlins for a healthy right-handed pitcher named Chris Volstad. This is not an obscure fact.
- Ryan Braun pleaded his case yesterday in the hopes of having a 50-game performance-enhancing drug suspension overturned. It’s believed that Braun argued he didn’t knowingly take a PED (which is not really a defense) and that there was something wrong with the test (which is a good defense, but is exceedingly hard to prove). We’re not aware of anyone successfully overturning such a suspension, so we’ll see what happens.
- Fluff on top prospect Brett Jackson. Pretty much everyone in the organization thinks he’s awesome. Now you know.
- Sammy Sosa’s skin is still getting lighter, which is odd and modestly notable, but not really something I’m comfortable making jokes about. But, like, there it is.
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